Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Peace

Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.............Words from one of my favorite hymns/songs.

About now, however, I'd settle for peace in the United States.  Today I was reading an essay about the following beatitude:  Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God.

In this phrase, the word "peacemaker" is not used in the sense of a negotiator as we would think in present day times.  A peacemaker is someone who brings or invokes serenity in all situations.  Serenity is the awareness of the Presence of God.  It is that sense of peace that passes all understanding.  And really folks, isn't that what we need right now?

The following is an essay called, The Presence, by Emmet Fox.

"God is the only Presence and the only Power.  God is fully present here with me now.  God is the only real Presence - all the rest is but shadow  God is perfect Good, and God is the cause only of perfect Good.  God never sends sickness, trouble, accident, temptations, nor death itself; nor does He authorize these things.  We bring them upon ourselves by our own wrong thinking.  God, Good, can cause only good.  The same fountain cannot send forth both sweet and bitter water.

I am Divine Spirit.  I am the child of God.  In God I live and move and have my being; so I have no fear.  I am surrounded by the Peace of God and all is well.  I am not afraid of people; I am not afraid of things; I am not afraid of circumstances; I am not afraid of myself; for God is with me.  The Peace of God fills my soul, and me.  I am not afraid of the past; I am not afraid of the present; I am not afraid for the future; for God is with me.  The Eternal God is my dwelling place and underneath are the ever-lasting arms.  Nothing can ever touch me but the direct action of God Himself, and God is Love.

God is Life;  I understand that and I express it. God is Truth; I understand that and I express it.  God is Divine Love; I understand that and I express it.

I send out thoughts of love and peace and healing to the whole universe: to all trees and plants and growing things, to all beasts and birds and fishes, and to every man, woman and child on earth, without distinction.  If anyone has ever injured me or done me any kind of harm, I fully and freely forgive him now, and the thing is done forever.  I loose him and let him go.  I am free and he is free.  If there is any burden of resentment in me, I cast it upon the Christ within and I go free.

God is Infinite Wisdom, and that Wisdom is mine.  That Wisdom leads and guides me; so I shall not make mistakes.  Christ in me is a lamp unto my feet.  God is Infinite Life, and that Life is my supply; so I shall want for nothing.  God created me and He sustains me.  Divine Love has foreseen everything, and provided for everything.  One Mind, One Power, One Principle.  One God, One Law, One Element.  Closer is He than breathing, nearer than hands and feet.  I am Divine Spirit, the Child of God and in the presence of God, I dwell forever.  I thank God for Perfect Harmony."

May whoever reads this feel the Presence of God and bring their serenity to all situations.

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Upcoming Inauguration

There was a scene in the TV series "West Wing" in which Martin Sheen's character, President Bartlett, was talking about the difference between the President as a man and the President as an office.  He explains that there are decisions that have to made in the Oval Office, and it is helpful in those situations not to think of yourself as "the man" but as "the office".  Will Mr Trump ever be able to put the office (the good of the country) above his own interests (the good of himself)?

When I struggle to understand my feelings about the man, Donald Trump, and the respect I have for the office of the President of the United States, I pretty much just drive myself bananas, trying to make sense of it all.  How did we wind up here?  How can this man that appears to be a narcissistic misogynist be our next president?  What happened to family values?  What happened to integrity and honesty?  Shouldn't our elected officials lead by example?  How can Mr Trump think that by continuing to have a say in any of his businesses is not a conflict of interest in regards to running our nation?  It just all baffles me.

And when I'm baffled, I turn to God, and ask for understanding and wisdom.

This month, I am reading Emmet Fox's The Sermon On The Mount.  The following passage is taken from the section discussing The Beatitudes, specifically 'Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.'

"As it stands, the Beatitude calls for very little comment because the words employed bear the ordinary meaning which we still give them in daily life, and the statement as given is as clear and obvious in its meaning........Kind actions coupled with unkind thoughts are hypocrisy, dictated by fear, or desire for self glory, or some such motive. They are counterfeits and they bless neither the giver nor the recipient.  On the other hand, (having) the true thought about fellow-man blesses him spiritually, mentally and materially, and blesses you too.  Let us be merciful in our mental judgments of our brother, for, in truth, we are all one, and the more deeply he seems to err, the more urgent is the need for us to help him with the right thought, and so make it easier for him to get free. Yo, because you understand the power of the Spiritual Idea - the Christ Truth, have a responsibility that others have not; see that you do not evade it.  When his delinquency comes to your notice, remember the Christ in him is calling out for help to you who are enlightened - so be merciful."

My interpretation of that, in the context of the upcoming inauguration,  is to praise and bless the President, and to ask that Divine Intelligence manifest within the office and the government as we move forward.  Feel free to utilize this affirmation I learned from Louise Hay.  "Out of this situation, only good can come."

And so it is.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Political Opinion and The Spiritual Approach

I am not particularly savvy in terms of politics. I am very middle of the road - a little be conservative, a little be liberal, but mostly I have what I consider to be a very common sense approach to things, including politics and government.
I am very concerned about the number of political/cabinet nominees that appear to have conflicts of interest or who flat out support policies in direct conflict with what the president-elect promised/support in his campaign.
The election is over. Mr Trump will be sworn into office on January 20th. He will be the one representing our nation. He will be making decision that effect all of us. 
The power we have as citizens is the power we give to our senators and congressmen and congress women. Whether or not you voted for Mr Trump no longer matters. What matters is that you make sure your voice - your opinion - is heard. I urge everyone to hold Mr Trump accountable, and insist on honesty and integrity. If you are concerned, like I am, about the moninees for the cabinet, etc., then call, write, email your senators and representatives. Express your views and concerns. These people work for you! They should cast their votes representing their constituents, not the party or the president! They are elected by you, not appointed by someone else. Don’t be afraid to let them know when it comes time for re-election, if they are not representing your values, your opinions, then you will be casting your vote elsewhere. Your vote has power. Pay attention to what is going on!

The above is a post I made on my personal Facebook page yesterday.  My intention had to been to take a Facebook break but I just HAD to share my concerns.  I have a very small number of FB friends - on purpose - and an even smaller number of regular readers for this blog - not on purpose, LOL.  I am really not one to get involved in political discussion, and for me to take a stand publicly on such things means there is really something to be concerned about.  

In my morning meditation, I asked the question about what to do.  The answer I received was "wisdom = divine guidance/prayer plus common sense.  One of my favorite spiritual teachers/authors, Emmet Fox, writes "When you set out to solve a problem by means of prayer, you should take the ordinary normal steps in addition.  Do not simply pray and thens it down and wait for something dramatic to happen."

This month I am reading The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra.  Today's chapter was on the Law of Giving.  I assumed it was going to be about tithing.  It wasn't. It addressed the idea of giving a gift to everyone we meet.  Gifts come in many forms - money, items, blessings, compliments, and so on.

In the Chapter summary, Dr Chopra makes the following challenge:  Keep wealth circulating in your life by giving and receiving life's most precious gifts:  the gifts of caring, affection, appreciation and love.  Every time you meet someone, silently wish them joy, happiness and laughter.

Today, keeping this challenge in mind, I send blessings of Divine Intelligence, Wisdom and Understanding to President-Elect Trump, our Senators, our Congressional Representatives, the press and media, and the citizens of the United States.  Lord knows we need help - from both Divine Intervention and participation by our citizens for what is right for EVERYONE!


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Product Reviews: Special K Crustless Quiche, Green Giant Veggies, Dole Dippers, Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate, Noosa Yoghurt

While I'm ruminating over some more thoughtful blog topics, I thought I would do a quick review of some products I've tried recently.

Disclaimer:  Fresh, made from scratch meals are almost always better than processed items.  However, occasionally I choose to use my time for other things - like grandchildren and exercise (LOL exercising my desire to watch TV or read a book or play Candy Crush is more like it) - instead of cooking, which I don't really enjoy anyway.


I give this product 3 (out of 5) stars.  It tasted fine.  There are two per package.  You take it out of the wrapper, put it on a microwave safe plate and cook for 2.5 minutes.  Let sit for 1 minute.  I put a dollop of sour cream on mine.  It was okay.  Not delicious, but not yucky.  I may keep some on hand for those days I'm running late.  It has 190 calories and 10 grams of protein.


This product gets 4 out of 5 stars.  I thought it was pretty good.  Husband thought it was okay.  I added a little of the same sauce I put on the chicken I was cooking for some flavor.  I think it would make a great base for low carb "fried rice".


If I were rating this after the first time I tried it, it would get no stars.  The first time, I microwaved the Mashed Cauliflower, following the directions on the package.  It turned out very running and bland.  The pieces of bacon are decent sized but a little over powering.  I had a second box of this Green Giant Mashed Cauliflower so I thought I would try it in the oven.  This would rate a 1 - 1.5 stars.  It thickened up a little bit after I took the plastic wrap off for the last 10 minutes.  And thickened even more while cooling.  After 20 minutes, I tasted it.  Better, but still the consistency of soup that had gotten too thick.  It definitely did not appear like the picture on the package!

If you are on a low carb diet, and looking for a mashed potato substitute, here is the recipe I recommend.  Bacon & Smoked Gouda Low Carb Cauliflower Puree from the I Breathe I'm Hungry blog.  I found the key was to microwave the cauliflower as directed in the recipe, and not steam it as I would normally.  It comes out much drier, and thus has a consistency more like mashed potatoes.


This is just yum, yum, yummy.  5 stars for the lemon.  320 calories and 12 grams of protein per container.  I get 2 servings out of each container.  I've tried coconut, pumpkin and sour cherry as well, 4.5 stars.



And my new favorite treats/desserts!  I don't each much fruit anyway, so I figured chocolate covered fruit was better than no fruit at all, right?  I enjoy dark chocolate with my evening red wine, so I thought I'd try the cabernet flavor dark chocolate!  Desserts?  All 5 stars!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Perfect Picture Part Two

Allow me to indulge in a little vent.  I don't know if it is my computer (Mac Book), my photos, or blogger at fault, but it is taking hours for photos to upload.  I did a search, and too the steps they suggested - cleared cache and disabled my pop up blocker and it is a little better, but still sooooo slow.

Here are the remaining shots I really liked.


 (note it took 1hr 15 minutes for these to download)





The Perfect Picture

...or it would have been had I had a camera with me.  Last week, I was driving an alternate route home from the post office, and caught a view of some trees just as the sun was setting.  The day had been cloudy with a combination of white and dark clouds.  The sun came shining through in a small break in the clouds.  It was stunning.  I quickly pulled over, searching for my point and shoot camera that is usually in the glove box.  Nope, not there.  I dug in my purse for my iPhone.  What?  You've got to be kidding me.  I left my phone at home.  I was so disappointed.  I would have driven home, grabbed my camera and gone back, but I could tell that the moment had passed.  Clouds had moved in and the sun had disappeared from view.  Damn!  I've been trying to recapture that moment since then.  I check the time for sunset and drive back to that same spot, but it has been cold and clear. I think what made the original view so stunning was the darkened background.  Yesterday, I came close.  And I did find a few other interesting things to shoot as well.















Friday, January 6, 2017

The Word Of The Day Is......

Pumpkin!

I woke up this morning with a craving for something pumpkin.  I spent the morning making pumpkin muffins and pumpkin soup.

I had a box of Trader Joe's Pumpkin Bread mix. As I was dutifully folding the mix into the liquid ingredients with a rubber spatula as the directions told me to do, it dawned on me the muffins weren't gluten-free.  I've found that I feel better avoiding wheat.  Whether it is the gluten that bothers me or possibly all the modifications that have been done to wheat over the years, I don't know - and it's a different blog topic anyway.  As long as I had gotten this far, I might as well finish making the muffins.  My husband will eat them, and I can always take some over to the neighbors.

I jotted down this recipe for Pumpkin Soup, probably sometime in October, but never got around to making it.  Today was the day.  I don't know who to credit for the recipe but I'm sure it came from a magazine or newspaper insert.

PUMPKIN SOUP

2 TBSP butter
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp pumpkin spice
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 15oz can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
32 oz vegetable broth
¼ cup pure maple syrup
⅓ cup sour cream
S&P

Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium-low heat.  Add the spices and stir for about 1 minute.  Add the pumpkin puree and the vegetable broth and keep stirring/whisking.  Heat to almost boiling.  Add the maple syrup and stir to combine.  Continue stirring for about 1 minute. Taste.  This is where I added salt and pepper.  Taste again and add more if necessary.  Remove from heat and stir in sour cream.

That is the recipe as I wrote it down.  It is a sweet cream soup.  Husband wasn't impressed but I liked it enough to do it again with a few changes. I would probably use chicken broth instead, just to up the protein content a bit.  I would also use more cumin, and possibly a little chili powder.  I like "stuff" in my soup, so I would probably saute some onions, celery and carrots, maybe even a little sweet potato in a separate pan.  I would add this to the soup after I added the syrup.  And instead of stirring in the sour cream to the whole pot, I would add dollops to each serving dish.



I wonder if they still are serving pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks?  Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.